The word Kiatsu is composed of two parts: Ki, which means Vital Life Energy (being the equivalent of the Chinese Qi or Chi), and Atsu, which means pressure. The word Ryoho in the phrase Kiatsu Ryoho stands for therapy.
Kiatsu was developed by the Japanese Sensei Koichi Tohei (1920 – 2011) and is a therapeutic system of treating physical and mental illnesses by pressing with the fingers on body locations, and extending or sending Ki Vital Life Energy (also called Universal Energy) through the body of a person. Kiatsu is an integral part of Koichi Tohei’s personally developed style of Aikido , a modern form of Japanese martial arts.
Master Koichi Tohei’s implementation of Aikido is officially called Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido, which means “Aikido with mind and body unified.” It’s also known as Ki-Aikido. Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido itself is based on Aikido and Shinshin-tōitsu-dō (Japanese Yoga).
Kiatsu directs Ki through the Energy Channels i.e. Meridians rather than working with specific acupressure points. One connects with another person through Ki, and fills their mind and body with Vital Energy, stimulating and accelerating healing processes.
To practice Kiatsu, one needs to use the following four principles of mind, body, and spirit coordination (or unification):
1 – Keep One Point
Calmly realize your mind at the central point in your lower abdominal region (the Hara).
2 – Relax Completely
Release all tension from the entire body, mind and emotion.
3 – Keep Weight Underside
Let the weight of every part of the body settle at its lowest point.
4 – Extend Ki
Ki is extending or sent naturally.
After applying the principles mentioned above, the therapist is then ready, and touches the part of the body that needs to be treated, using a mild to moderate amount of pressure.
Kiatsu Therapy can be given to a receiver by a specialized therapist, but it’s also used as a Self-Care and Self-Healing technique.